After a year and a half of mostly virtual classes, students have been eager to seek out in-person academic support at the Learning Strategies Center and the Tatkon Center to help them succeed academically and socially.
The Learning Strategies Center offers supplemental courses for some of Cornell’s most popular introductory courses such as economics, physics and calculus. These courses review lecture material in a smaller classroom setting and provide additional practice opportunities for students.
Juliette DeSpirito ’25 and Gabriella Elcsics ’25 are enrolled in the supplemental course for an introductory-level physics course. Both said that the supplemental course has helped them grasp the difficult material.
Elcsics added that the supplemental course has helped make the workload more manageable, especially as she transitions from more than a year of online high school to in-person college classes.
“It was definitely overwhelming coming here,” Elcsics said. “In the beginning I didn’t know how to time manage my work, so it eventually piled up and I really didn’t know what to do or what resources would help me.”
Genie Enders ’25 has been attending weekly tutoring sessions for her calculus class at the Tatkon Center. Enders said she appreciates the in-person aspect of Tatkon Center tutoring services — where pods of students are huddled together inside one of RPCC’s study rooms.
“You can hang out with your friend to go get the homework done and get tutoring at the same time,” Enders said. “It’s definitely been a smoother transition than I initially believed.”
The Tatkon Center has returned to in-person programming, from math tutoring to friend speed dating — a drastic change from last year, when all programming was virtual.
“We’ve been pretty ambitious with our programming this year because we want to make up for a lot of the lost experience from things being virtual last year,” said Alizeh Khan ‘22, a student staff member at the Tatkon Center.
The Tatkon Center runs events to help students connect with one another in a more relaxed, social setting, including their Wellness Wednesday events — a space for students to unwind from the stresses of the academic week. Khan said she has noticed a greater demand for these wellness events, more than what it was before the pandemic.
“Our wellness and socializing events have been way through the roof,” Khan said.
Khan described one particular Wellness Wednesday event, where students got the chance to assemble their own “self-care kits.” They had expected 20 to 30 students to show up — but close to 50 students ended up attending.
The increased demand for these events have added some challenges for the center to adequately support everyone who comes in — according to Khan, the center has been understaffed this semester.
The center has also been operating in RPCC this year due to the closure of Balch Hall for quarantined students — limiting the amount of space available for programming. However, Khan said that the center has adjusted to the increased demand.
“I really think it’s the social aspect that they’re missing the most,” Khan said.
Despite the increased demand for academic and general support, some students feel like their peers are not taking advantage of the numerous academic resources available to them.
“I would say I’ve met a fair amount of people who didn’t know they existed in the first place,” Enders said. “Even when I told people about it, some people still don’t show up.”
Still, many students are glad to have access to in-person tutoring and academic support during a major transition in their academic careers.
“Being able to go somewhere I know I can get help [and] get the work done on time has been really relieving for me,” Enders said.